Top NBA Players: #44 Roy Hibbert

May 5, 2012; Orlando, FL, USA; Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert (55) drives past Orlando Magic power forward Ryan Anderson (33) during the first quarter of game four in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE

Roy Hibbert
Resume: 12.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.0 blocks (5th in league), 29.8 minutes, 50% FG, and 71% FT… Team record in games played: 41-24 (1-0 without)… Playoffs: 11.7 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.1 blocks, 50% FG, 67% FT, 6-5 record… All-Star

Allow me to say that I spent an absurd amount of time doing this list. I’m not one to brag about my work, but I give myself, a 20 year old college student with a social life, school work and slightly mild addiction to football as well as basketball, a ton of credit for doing this. It wasn’t as easy as just writing down names and just letting them fall into place. It was really time-consuming and arduous work. One of the hardest parts about making this list was after establishing my top 50 guys, putting them in the right order. As my friend Corey Edwards joked, “The only easy one is number one.” In some ways that was true. But one of my toughest rankings believe it or not was Roy Hibbert. Even though Hibbert just cashed in on a four year, $58 million contract, I still wasn’t completely convinced he was a top 50 player. Briefly, I had him outside looking in. As I started doing a little more research, re-watching game highlights and playoff games I had taped, I started moving him up and up and up, until I had him in the mid 30’s, which seemed way too high. Eventually, I said to myself “Here’s a thought, compromise with yourself and put him in the mid 40’s. 44 looks good.” Boom, and that’s where he ended up!

So why exactly was I so down on a center worth $58 million?

  • As a 7’2 center, Hibbert averages under 9 rebounds per game. He barely cracked the top 20 (11th among centers) and was outrebounded by two of my most difficult cuts, Ersan Ilyasova and Marcin Gortat. Explain to me why a starting center that is 86 inches tall is not averaging more than 9 rebounds per game. Wait, actually, I can do that myself…
  • On a team that attempted to make their 2nd round series with Miami a physical one, Hibbert seemingly wanted no part of it. This shouldn’t have been a surprise. Hibbert never really seems to turn it up a notch. He never looks like he has any sort of fire. I guess that is a result of being an avid Pokemon fan as a kid, and trying golf, tennis and piano before realizing “Holy crap, I’m a giant! I should try something out where my height can be a huge advantage and someday make me millions of dollars!”
  • He didn’t feast on smaller teams in the playoffs like he should’ve. Take a look at his two postseason matchups: The Orlando Magic, minus Dwight Howard, and the Miami Heat, minus Chris Bosh. So in summary, Roy Hibbert averaged 11 points and 11 rebounds per game against the likes of Ryan Anderson, Glen Davis, Earl Clark, Ronny Turiaf, Joel Anthony, and Udonis Haslem. Come on, man!

After a couple weeks of Hibbert hovering around the toughest cuts list, I decided to move him up. Why?

  • His rebound averages are a little skewed based on the fact he doesn’t even average 30 minutes per game. Per 36 minutes, Hibbert averages 10.6 rebounds, which looks a hell of a lot better than 8.8.
  • His 19 point, 18 rebound, 5 block explosion in game 3 against the Heat offers a lot of promise for his future… as does the fact that year by year as his minutes have gone up, so have his points, rebounds and blocks.
  • He looks a little like Tracy McGrady. I decided that this was a good thing since for a 2 year window McGrady was my favorite player in the game. This was also known as the Dark Ages, which was in-between the eras of MJ and LBJ.
  • He got $58 million! That’s a butt load of money! Even though there have been big contract busts in the past, I don’t think Hibbert is a guy who is going to stop improving. In the end, I can think whatever I want about Roy Hibbert because the individuals making those financial decisions likely know a tad bit more about him than I do. I decided to take their word for it.